5 tips for becoming a social entrepreneur this year

It’s 2019, a brand-new year and a fantastic time to take the first steps with that big idea you’ve had for a while. UnLtd provide layers of support for social entrepreneurs at the very start of their journey to help you and your venture grow.

We know that deciding to become a social entrepreneur is not an easy decision to make, but we can help you every step of the way. To kick-start you on this journey we’ve put together some tips for planning and preparation.

1. Know your motivations

Successful social entrepreneurs are more likely to be motivated by a desire to create change, do good, or improve existing services, than by money. What is the issue that is really close to your heart?

Have that motivation at the centre of all your plans. You may have to work harder for less monetary reward, but you will gain immensely greater emotional reward.

2. Plan your business model

It is never too early to start thinking about your business model. Look at it as a continuously evolving concept – ideally it will become more robust and more detailed over time as you go from idea to project to organisation.

Start off by thinking about:

  • Your headline purpose, (its social impact) objectives and moral / ethical compass. Then create your own Vision, Mission and Values.
  • Your strategy: how what you do fits together into a coherent whole; and how that helps you deliver your objectives?
  • Your offer: what product / service are you offering your customers and / or beneficiaries?

3. Think local, ask questions

Think about the needs in your local area, and the field in which you want to be making an impact.  What already exists? Who could you work with?
When you’re starting a social enterprise to address a social need it is really important to consult with your future beneficiaries.

For example, if it’s something to improve your local area, speak to residents and ask whether it would be helpful to them. There may be consequences you hadn’t thought of, or other versions that would make it better.

Or if you will be working with disabled people, make sure you’ve spoken with people who have lived expertise on the topic. Even if you have direct experience of the issue you hope to tackle, we’re all different and consultation helps make sure your initial plans are sound.

4. Learn more

We have developed a suite of free training guides to support you along your journey with UnLtd. All of the tips mentioned here are available in much more detail in our learning area.You can learn about marketing, user experience, legal guidance, strategy planning and more.

There are also many free events for social entrepreneurs which we’d encourage you to attend.

5. Apply for support from UnLtd

At UnLtd we combine cash and coaching to help nurture your idea and make it become a reality. This last year we’ve seen a very high number and standard of applications from social ventures, particularly in England, and many of our awards are closed for applications in England. 

We are still open for applications if:

  • Your venture is based in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.
  • You are aged between 16 and 24 years and have an idea to unlock the potential of an unused or under utilised space for the benefit of your community. You can apply for a Spaces for Change Do It Award, please click here for further information.
  • Your venture is based in one of our resilient community areas please click here for further information.
  • You are tackling local social issues in Hackney, Barking & Dagenham. You can apply to be part of East End Connect.
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Author Info


Ruth Coustick-DealCommunications Officer

UnLtd award winners all have fascinating stories about their ventures and why they do what they do. My role is to ensure these stories are told and seen by the world. I want to make sure all the teams at UnLtd communicate their work effectively, and that they have the best tools to do so. I have a background in political campaigning, spending the last seven years trying to improve human rights in the UK. In my spare time I co-host and produce a podcast about technology and its impact on society, and enjoy drawing and making art

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